As the Senate moves forward in passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill largely stripped of provisions to address the climate crisis climate-fueled wildfires are raging around the globe.
Hot, dry, and windy conditions have put Northern California under a siege of fires. The Dixie Fire is burning so much, so fast, that news coverage is struggling to keep up. The California fire burned about 40,000 acres yesterday — about one acre per second — and has reportedly forced firefighters to abandon their defense of Canyondam. As of 8:33 p.m. PDT Thursday, the fire — supercharged by heat and drought made worse by climate change — was officially the sixth-largest in California history, having burned 361,812 acres. By the time you read this, however, it will likely have surpassed 2020’s LNU Lightning Complex Fire (363,220 acres) and could be well on its way to surpassing the 220 Creek Fire’s 379,895.
Meanwhile, much of Southern Europe and the Mediterranean stifles under brutal heat, chokes on dangerously polluted air from out of control fires, or both. Thousands are homeless in Turkey, where the infernos have killed at least eight.
Finally, smoke from vast wildfires across Siberia has blocked out the sun. The blazes have pumped an unprecedented 505 megatons of CO2-equivalent climate-heating greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Weeks of the fire season remain and scientists worry even more carbon could be released from the thawing, long-frozen tundra. (Global fires: Democracy Now; NorCal: Washington Post $; Dixie Fire: San Francisco Chronicle, KPIX, Washington Post $; Historic fire acreage: Sacramento Bee; Turkey: Climate Home; Southern Europe: The Guardian, AP, Reuters; (Potentially graphic) images: Washington Post $, New York Times $, TIME; Siberia: Reuters, Moscow Times; Climate Signals background: Wildfires, 2021 Western wildfire season, Drought)